03.DIY baby food
Dietitians have told us that commercial baby foods are convenience foods for babies – the aim with introducing solids is to get your baby from a diet of breastmilk or formula at about six months to eating appropriate family foods at 12 months.
There are easy options if you don’t want to use commercial baby foods even as convenience foods:
Mashed banana, pawpaw or avocado are all pretty instant foods, when time matters.
Freezing your own creations in ice-cube trays or baby-size containers for when you don’t have the time is a lifesaver.
Pureeing or mashing what the rest of the family is eating is the simplest of all, as long as your whole family has a decent diet — and you keep in mind that just as commercial baby foods are only allowed to contain certain levels of salt and virtually no additives, so should your home-made baby food. You don’t need to add sugar to your baby’s food (pureed or mashed fruit is a healthier choice) and salt can be particularly easy to overdo: don’t add it to your baby’s cooking, and take out their portion before you add it to the rest of the family’s (if you do); go easy on salty ingredients like cheese; and choose low-salt versions of things like creamed corn, baked beans or tuna.
Always follow safe food handling principles stringently – babies and young children are a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to food poisoning. Factsheets on preparing food safely can be found on the Food Safety Information Council website — in particular the factsheet Protecting tiny tummies is a good place to start.
This article doesn’t cover all (or even most) aspects of introducing solids to your baby — your baby health clinic is a good place to start.